Pacelli Third Graders ‘Let Their Lights Shine’

Published 8:08 am Friday, December 9, 2016

By Patty Schaefer

Pacelli Third Grade Teacher

Service is an important part of third grade at Pacelli Catholic Elementary School. Pacelli third graders participate in many different service projects throughout the holiday season not only because it helps those in need, but also because these service projects foster a spirit of giving that we hope students will continue to practice at other times of the year and throughout their lives. In third grade, students organize and participate in service projects both in our Austin community and in other countries.

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As part of our social studies unit on different communities and cultures, students were invited to help fill a shoebox with various gifts and school supplies which will be sent to other countries as part of Operation Christmas Child. We started with one shoebox to fill for the Operation Christmas Child, but, thanks to our generous Pacelli students and families, we ended up filling four shoeboxes. Now, two boys and two girls will receive our boxes this holiday eason. Included in the boxes is a letter and a picture from our students who are hoping to start a pen pal correspondence with the children who receive the boxes. Once the shoeboxes are processed by mid-December, our third-grade class can check on country destinations through Follow Your Box, by tracking the barcode label on our shoeboxes. Students are excited to follow their journey and ultimate delivery.

Students in the Warm Hands, Warm Feet, Warm Heart project pose for a photo. Photos provided

Students in the Warm Hands, Warm Feet, Warm Heart project pose for a photo. Photos provided

Each year, third grade students organize their “Warm Hands, Warm Feet donated by Warm Hearts” event whereby they decorate a Christmas tree with donations of new socks, mittens, and other outerwear that are donated by our entire Pacelli community. This project is part of our language arts curriculum because the students write a presentation that they then take into each of the classrooms at Pacelli so they can introduce the fundraiser to the other students. The tree is displayed at the elementary school entrance and all students are encouraged to bring in new mittens and socks to donate this winter for children in need. The tree will be up from until  Dec. 22.

Finally, our third grade students sing to residents of The Cedars of Austin and Sacred Heart Care Center each December. Our students bring joy to many people through their participation in singing at senior living communities. Pacelli third graders will be singing at The Cedars of Austin on Dec. 15 and at Sacred Heart Care Center on Dec. 22. The students have a variety of holiday songs they sing and after the concert they distribute Bible verses that they have written and decorated using our cursive handwriting curriculum to the residents. During this time, they are also able to visit with the residents.

We learn about sharing the Good News not only through our words but through our actions! I am very proud of the students.  They definitely “Let Their Lights Shine” for many.

1 Peter 4:10 God has given each of us a gift from His great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.

If you are interested in learning more about Pacelli Catholic Schools visit our website at, email or call 507-437-3278.